Yesterday, September 22nd I went in for my PET/CT scan to determine if the treatment I have been going through has been successful. I had 6 rounds of carbo/taxol/avastin chemo. I started treatment in May and completed my last chemo in September on Labor Day. This scan is suppose to tell us if there is any cancer present in my body.
Have you every had a PET/CT scan? This is the second time I've had cancer so I had this type of scan before. I was with a different doctor at a different hospital at that time (due to insurance). The one great thing they did was offer music to be played. They had a selection, basically options of Pandora stations, to choose from. I got to choose a style of music and listen to it during my scan. It really helped to keep my mind off of what I was laying in this tube for.
This scan was a different experience. I want to describe the process for those of you who are fortunate enough to have never had this type of scan. I had to arrive at 11:45 for my 12:00 scan. They promptly called me back at 12:00. The technician was unable to access my port so we had to wait for the nurse. The nurse got there at 12:20 and was unable to get the blood to flow (not an uncommon occurance). We worked our way through the tricks like turn your head to the left and cough, raise your right arm, etc. Eventually we had my lay flat, which I told them from the beginning is what we would need to do to draw blood from my port. Again, not my first rodeo here, we have drawn a lot of blood from my port and that is the best position for getting it to draw. At 12:30 they were able to infuse what they described to me as the radioactive fluid into my body. Let's think about that for a moment. Radioactive fluid is being pumped into my body. What other disease is there that it is safer to inject radioactive fluid into someone than to let the disease be. Seems crazy to me. Up next is the 1.5 hour wait for the fluid to make its way through the body. They told me to empty my bladder completely, so JR went and got my self-cathetering supplies so I was able to. I went in for the scan. During the scan they strap your arms down to your side and also strap your head down so you don't move it in either direction. The technician told me that I would be scanning for 28 minutes, he said that 28 minutes makes people feel better than 30 minutes. Quite frankly a little music would have made me feel better.
When I was in the silence of the tube all sorts of things ran through my head. First off, my face itched almost immediately once my arms and head were strapped down. Up next was the thought of what if this PET scan lights up like a Christmas tree. For those of you that haven't seen The Fault in our Stars that is a direct reference to the movie. I enjoyed the movie and didn't cry like a baby, I suggest people see it. It was a good movie. Back to the scan, basically my mind rotated through face itching, how bad the scan results could potentially be, to why isn't there any music in this scan. This went on for 28 minutes, not 30 as my tech pointed out. The technician then took the scan to the radiologist to review and they determined I needed to do an additional scan. They injected me with lasix, which is used to flush out your kidneys. They did this because the radioactive fluid had built up in my stint that is in my right ureter connecting my kidney to my bladder. I then had to wait forty minutes for the flush to work and do an additional ten minute scan. I've got to say, this scan was worse. They were only scanning my pelvis this time. The thought kept running through my head "why is this spot taking so long, why haven't they moved to the next section, is it bad, what is the tech seeing". So many questions, with no answers.
I'm honestly not feeling good about the results at this time. However, anything has to be better than this not knowing.
I was originally scheduled to see my oncologist this Thursday to review all the results from the scan, however, last week I received a call that my oncologist was no longer available due to unforeseen circumstances. They offered the two other gyn/oncologist in the same practice for me to choose from. I had the opportunity to meet both doctors during one of my four hospital stays during my treatment. I choose to switch to Dr. Callahan. This means that my follow up appointment had to be moved to September 29th. The nurse will, however, be calling me to review the scan results.
Today was stressful, I was waiting to hear the results. I called this morning to speak with my nurse and see when I could anticipate the results. She said hopefully by this afternoon as it typically takes 24 hours then she has to review it with the doctor before calling. She wasn't able to call this afternoon so I anticipate hearing something tomorrow. If I haven't heard from her by lunch I will call her again.
I did buy a new book to keep my mind off of things, and it has really helped. It is called The Maze Runner and I am power reading it. I am currently about 56% of the way through but I took a quick break to write this up.
Erica is a 31 year old cervical cancer advocate who is out living cancer for the third time. When she isn’t advocating for cervical cancer and HPV awareness as a Cervivor Ambassador, she oversees the STEM program (including a robotics team) at the school where she is an educator. Erica enjoys spending time with her husband and son in their Indianapolis neighborhood, as well as pursuing new and adventurous hobbies. She can most recently be found fawning over kayaks and daydreaming of returning to whitewater kayaking with First Descents, an organization for young adults impacted by cancer.